* H1 net profit 96.3 million euros
* Higher bad debt provisions, tariff cuts weigh on results
(Adds sales, details)
ATHENS Aug 28 Greece's dominant power utility
PPC reported a bigger-than-expected drop in first-half
net profit, weighed down by increased provisions for overdue
bills and tariff cuts.
Net profit dropped 24 percent to 96.3 million euros ($127
million), down from 127.1 million euros in the same period last
year, the company said on Thursday. Analysts in a Reuters poll
had forecast on average a net profit of 105.9 million
The company said bad debt provisions rose 32 percent
year-on-year to 249 million euros. The results were also hurt by
tariff cuts for industries and businesses.
PPC is paying the price for having become the tax collection
vehicle of the cash-strapped government during a deep recession.
In 2012, Athens imposed a property tax through electricity
bills as part of austerity measures agreed with its foreign
lenders in exchange for a 240 billion euro bailout.
But many squeezed households delay payments, or refuse to
pay electricity bills, hurting the utility's bottom line.
Sales to austerity-hit households and businesses dropped 4
percent at 2.8 billion euros. The reading was broadly in line
with analysts' average estimate.
PPC, 51 percent state-owned, controls almost all of Greece's
retail electricity market and its output accounts for about two
thirds of the nation's power output. The government wants to
sell 30 percent of the firm in 2015 and then divest another 17
percent to liberalise the market.
Athens' plans also include the privatisation of power grid
operator ADMIE, a 66 percent stake of which PPC will sell to
strategic investor later this year.
Belgian power grid operator Elia, State Grid Corporation of
China (SGCC), Italian grid operator Terna and Canadian pension
fund PSP Investments have been shortlisted to bid for ADMIE.
(1 US dollar = 0.7573 euro)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Renee Maltezou and